This chart shows at what age you’ll be happiest

This chart shows at what age you’ll be happiest

via Big Think by Philip Perry 

There are many points of view on what exactly happiness is. Is it being successful, having close friends and a loving family, long stretches of contentment, or reaching your own life goals? If you define it as contentment with life, you may be surprised at what age(s) most people find it. There’s often more than one peak. According to a series of seven surveys recently digested and charted, most people are happiest around age 20.

Happiness drops down from then on, reaching its lowest point in middle-age, only to rise again around retirement. The results of this sweeping evaluation were published in a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research. 1.3 million randomly selected people from 51 different countries, took part in one of seven surveys. These included the General Social Survey taken by 54,000 Americans, the Understanding Society survey taken by 416,000 British, and the European Social Survey taken by 316,000 Europeans, from 32 different countries.

Respondents were asked questions about their psychological health and well-being. All participants were between the ages of 20 and 90. When examining the data, researchers took two approaches. The first was straightforward and the second accounted for other influences, such as income and health. People were asked in two different ways about their level of contentment. In one, they were asked if they were happy or unhappy, and in the other, their level of life satisfaction.

Researchers took a large cross-section from each survey and compared happiness and life-satisfaction, using both evaluation methods. With each and across seven data sets, they received the same result, what’s called “a midlife low.” The data formed a U-shaped graph. So far, there’s been no explanation as to why life contentment is shaped like this. Though satisfaction sinks from age 20 onward, things pick up again around 50, and throughout retirement and old age people report ever-growing happiness…

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